Our Director Inspirational Speech

Ferial Youakim; National Director   

Ferial Youakim; National Director   

Although my life has not always been perfect, the challenges that I have faced over the years have made me into the person I am today. The pain that I had experienced for so long is what motivated me to embark on my journey and to form the foundation. I was denied the basic human rights to which we should all be entitled, and it would have been easy to give up. But I simply could not bring myself to walk away because I knew in my heart that I had to keep moving forward. If you had met me back then, you would have never guessed that I would be standing here today to tell my story.

In addition to being called a second-class citizen, I was incessantly bullied, and I can't even begin to describe how I felt each time I heard those sharp words that cut through my soul. When you have labels thrown at you from all directions, it's easy to start believing them. They did not think that I belonged, and they had no trouble letting me know what was on their minds. Other people were lucky enough to be born into wealth and social status, but I was not. It was hard for me to understand why they judged others based on their look and materialistic possessions or how they could find it in their hearts to be so cruel. The ones who despised me did not even know who I was. 

Even though I did not have much, I had something that they didn't, and as far as I was concerned, the things with which I had been blessed were far more valuable than money, look and fame. My family surrounded me with love and respect, and we were humble. I always knew that human beings were equal and that everyone deserves dignity. 

Unlike so many others, I was given a rare opportunity. I was given the opportunity to speak up and to have my voice heard, and I am grateful for that. In the darkest moments of my life, I refused to let go of my dream. No matter how hopeless my situation seemed, I held on to my dream of a better life. Although it took a lot of work, I was able to make my dream into a reality. My goal is to inspire & empower people to face life's challenges head on so that they can also achieve their dreams. 

As I look back on my past and how it contrasts with the present and future, feelings of intense joy fill my heart. The trials of my past are what have shaped me into the leader who stands in front of you now, and I have seen others blossom into role models for their communities. Witnessing such a beautiful thing is so rewarding that I can't even put it into words! 

My journey has opened many doors and has allowed me to meet many extraordinary men and women who share my vision. Our objective is to make a difference for as many people as we can, and I will always work to inspire & empower people to fight for the life, respect and fair treatment that they deserve.